A new plaque has been unveiled to commemorate a firefighter who died trying to save a young woman and child.
Malcolm Kirton was aged 38 when he died fighting a fire at a large furniture and carpet store in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, on 2 February 1992.
It had been reported that a young mother and child were inside the store, and Malcolm and a fellow firefighter went in to search for them. Both suffered with extreme heat exhaustion and Malcolm was found by an emergency breathing apparatus crew, collapsed inside the store. However, it was later found that the mother and child had in fact earlier managed to escape through a window.
The new plaque is placed near to the site of the store, near the Elm Cottage Pub on Church Street, Gainsborough. It is part of the Fire Brigade Union’s Red Plaque scheme, which aims to commemorate firefighters who die in the line of duty. It has been unveiled on the 30th anniversary of Malcolm’s death.
Ben Selby, Fire Brigades Union vice president and East Midlands executive council member, said: ‘Leading firefighter Malcolm Kirton was a popular firefighter and loving family man with two young children. He gave the ultimate sacrifice in trying to save the lives of others. His bravery and what he gave cannot be forgotten, and this plaque will help to ensure this is the case. It will have a prominent position in the local community, and will be a fitting tribute to Malcolm.’
Family members of Mr Kirton, some of his firefighter colleagues, national Fire Brigades Union officials and local civil dignitaries were present at the unveiling.
On the anniversary of Malcolm’s death each year, the duty crew at nearby Gainsborough fire station perform a minute’s silence to commemorate his passing.
The Red Plaque scheme was set up during the Fire Brigade Union’s centenary with the aim of establishing memorials to firefighters who have died in the line of duty.
The scheme involves engaging local FBU members, family members or members of the community to work with the union to place a unique plaque, usually near the scene of the incident. Each plaque bears a similar inscription which honours the bravery and sacrifice of the firefighter whose name appears on the plaque.
Since its inception, the scheme has gone from strength to strength with as of last count 39 plaques either laid or in the process of being developed across the UK. The plaques represent the names of some 125 firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.